Local plan – housing figures up – why?


Tomorrow sees an Extraordinary meeting of the Environment, Heritage and Planning Portfolio Advisory Committee.

The main item is the latest housing target for the local plan.  It states:

Officers believe that a target based on the housing need arising from the basic demographic projections in our recent Strategic Housing Market Assessment, of 47,500 is the lowest that could be robustly defended at the Examination. It does not include any allowance for meeting the Cornwall Council backlog in affordable housing or meeting the needs that might be required by higher aspirations for economic growth but relates to the projections stemming from demographic change over the next 17 years. The level of growth this sets is still significantly lower than past proposals and is broadly equivalent to the current rate of house building across Cornwall, ie around 2,300 per year. If this is change is accepted there are a range of other issues which warrant change that would also require additional consultation.

Comment

The evidence does not back up the proposed higher target.  The trend in population growth and additional households is downwards.   As we argued in 2012, a figure of 29,000 dwellings is the highest that could be justified assuming continued in-migration and no reduction in the number of dwellings in the holiday homes/lets sector.

The paper to go before the PAC refers to the Strategic Housing Market Assessment to back up the extra housing – although the report is nowhere to be seen!  However it is evident that the ‘evidence’ is flawed. relying on unrealistic population and household projections; a discredited Home Choice register and the odd belief that economic growth requires population growth!

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